Tenants and landlords who were financially affected by the COVID-19 pandemic will have access to billions of dollars in aid from New York under a program announced Tuesday by Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
The move comes as a ban on evictions for people who have demonstrated a pandemic-related hardship has been extended by state lawmakers and Cuomo until August, and as small landlords over the last several weeks have called for the aid to be disbursed.
The money includes $2.7 billion in emergency rental assistance for New Yorkers who have demonstrated a financial impact due to the pandemic; applications will be accepted starting next Tuesday, June 1. The program, to be administered by the Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance, is expected to aid between 170,000 and 200,000 households.
The program is expected to initially prioritize unemployed tenants as well as low-income households.
Small businesses will also have access to $800 million in recovery funds, with applications being accepted on June 10. Grants for that program will range from $5,000 to $50,000, calculated based on annual gross receipts for 2019.
"New Yorkers and small businesses in every corner of the State were devastated by the pandemic, and as we continue to recover and rebuild we need to make sure they have the resources they need to get back on their feet and succeed in a new, reimagined economy," Cuomo said. "This critical funding will help ensure New Yorkers who are experiencing financial hardship through no fault of their own will not be thrown onto the streets, while also providing stability for small businesses so they can help play a role in New York's economic resurgence."
New York shed an estimated 2 million jobs during last year's shutdown of businesses, schools and other public gathering spaces in order to limit the spread of the coronavirus. But the economy continues to struggle in returning to normal, with an unemployment rate in April at 8.2%, higher than the national average.
Landlords and state lawmakers over the last month had urged the state to set up an assistance program amid the ongoing eviction moratorium and mounting financial pressure.
"Today’s announcement represents overdue good news for those who have waited for this administration to get its act together," said Assembly Minority Leader Will Barclay. "While some states have already finished allocating this critical funding, New York is just getting started and now playing catch-up."